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Arinell Pizza - big disappointment (SF Misson)

Today I stopped into Arinell Pizza in the Mission because (1) I was there and (2) I had read a lot about their Berkeley place. I had their standard slice. To me, it had very little flavor, either from the cheese or tomato sauce, and wasn't worth the calories to eat it. What am I missing here?

Arinell Pizza
509 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 255-1303

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  1. The shape aside, the taste of their pizza is very similar to low tier pizza places in the New York area. Authenticity does not equal quality, especially when you're eating such low priced product

    4 Replies
    1. re: hyperbowler

      I certainly agree, but I still don't get all the praise here (at least in the past) for these slices. Who cares if they're an "authentic" almost-tasteless product.

      1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

        That's why we tell the searchers for a "slice" that if they want flour, cheese, tomatoes and meat to get a burrito.

        1. re: wolfe

          Just about every slice I've had at other places has been much better that this Arinell's one.

          1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

            It's a very particular style of junk food that some people from New York like. If you have no nostalgia for that style, it's just junk food.

    2. Arinell's is awful. I've never remotely understood why anyone would possibly recommend it. Not to mention it is truly disturbingly filthy inside. Yes, we dont have "good NY pizza here." What we have is amazing California pizza that is vastly superior.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Lord Griffin

        As your slightly flamebait reply exemplifies, pizza is a religious war. People go to Arinell because they want NY style pizza, not "california pizza" (with thicker crust and weird stuff like pears and pineapple on it). I have eaten NYC style pizza in many locations, including all over NYC and I think Arinell is a reasonably good representation, though not "great". It's my favorite version in SF for sure.

        But if you go in there having no idea what NYC style means, then of course you stand to be disappointed if it turns out you do not like that style.

        Don't load up the slice with toppings, but I do suggest getting one with sauteed mushrooms on top.

        1. re: sfchris

          Yeah my reply was slightly flamebait =). However, I will say that recently I went on a weeklong pizza crawl in NYC with friends from there who swore by NY style pizza and deplored my uneducated love of our wonderful pizza here in SF. Some of the pizza was very good for what it was, and everything I had was vastly superior to Arinell's. I just think it's a place without any respect for its product. On the more contentious subject of SF versus NY pizza... I would rather have a slice of margherita pizza from any decent pizza place in SF (no pears or pineapple) that any of the places I had pizza at in NY... Obviously its not a totally fair comparison as pizza here is generally twice as expensive by slice, but the quality of ingredients and depth of flavor is just so much greater IMHO.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. It's the crust. NY and NJ pizzas require very thin crusts, like only half a centimeter or so.

          I am personally a fan of it, but then I'm from there.

          I think the average version of most local staples (e.g., pizza, cheesesteaks, hot dogs) is probably mediocre to outsiders. If you were to leave the Bay Area, you'd probably miss Mission burritos quite a bit (burritos are similarly available in the Northeast but yet not quite "right"), yet whenever my out-of-town friends eat burritos here, they don't see what the big deal is.

          1. Haven’t been to Arinells in a while but used to go to the one in Berkeley when I worked there. I can tell you this: All the NY style pizza places in the Bay area I have tried (Arinells, Escape from NY, Lanesplitter) have really bad QC. I have had fabulous and fabulously mediocre pizza at all of those places. They have these doofus stoner kids or bored adults working there who don’t care about the pizza and the owners don’t seem to be stringent enough in setting standards for them. So the pizza is sometimes excellent, sometimes not. Good thin crust NY style pizza is heavenly when its made correctly.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ridge

              To get great pizza in NYC, order a whole pie at John's. For that style around here, go to Nizza la Bella. The standard Ray's-style slice that Arinell's tries to replicate does not aspire to greatness.

              Reheated slices are inherently inconsistent.